By Bridget Sielicki
A British judge has denied a request from a couple hoping to bring their critically ill baby to Italy for treatment.
Indi Gregory, an eight-month-old little girl, is fighting a rare mitochondrial disease. Her parents, Dean Gregory and Claire Staniforth, have been involved in a court battle with doctors at Nottingham University Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust, who are arguing that there is nothing to be done for Gregory and she should be taken off life support and her ventilator.
Her parents, represented by the Christian Legal Centre, had made a request to transfer Indi to Rome, where doctors at the Bambino Gesu Children’s Hospital had agreed to treat her. However, Mr. Justice Robert Peel denied that request, ruling it was in Indi’s “best interests” to die in the United Kingdom rather than travel to a medical facility that could give her hope of living.
“There is nothing to suggest that Indi Gregory’s prognosis would be beneficially altered by the Italian hospital’s treatment,” he wrote.
Dean Gregory disagreed. “We don’t see how it’s in Indi’s best interests to be taken to a hospice or home to potentially pass away when we’ve got this truly beautiful offer from Italy and a hospital who are willing to help and treat her,” he said. “We’ve got two experts who both agree it’s in her best interests to have these treatments.”
Dean also decried the United Kingdom’s health care laws which make it impossible to do what he feels is best for his daughter.
“You should have more rights as a parent for your child. Doctors don’t always get it right. You’ve got doctors arguing – specialists in her condition – and it makes you think if it’s in Indi’s best interest or for the trust’s best interests,” he said.
“It makes me feel embarrassed to be British, when you have these other countries willing to help and here they won’t even help her.”
“The law is there to protect life and the most vulnerable in our society. What is happening in this case sets a very worrying precedent with regard to that principle,” said Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre.
“It is very concerning that a child can be held against the parents’ wishes when they have alternative treatment available. Transferring Indi to Italy involves no cost to the taxpayer or the NHS,” she added.
On Saturday, two Court of Appeal judges threw out the parents’ appeal of the decision without a hearing, a move that is believed to be the first time a parents’ appeal against an order to withdraw life-sustaining treatment from their child has been rejected by the Court of Appeal without a hearing.
Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and is reposted with permission.